How to Prune Magnolia Trees

by Alex Kountry
Updated on

A guide on how to prune your magnolia tree.

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Pruning is a horticultural practice that alters the shape and growth of a plant. It can be used for several reasons, including to manage the size of a plant, to stimulate flowering or fruiting, or to remove diseased or damaged tissue. Magnolia trees are popular ornamental plants that require little pruning once they are established. However, when they are young, magnolia trees benefit from regular pruning to encourage strong growth and produce a pleasing shape.

What You’ll Need

-Pruning shears
-A saw


Pruning young magnolia trees (Magnolia spp.) is important to establish a strong framework of branches. You’ll need to continue pruning every year or two until the tree reaches the desired shape and size. At that point, yearly pruning should suffice to keep the tree looking its best. The key to success is knowing when and how to prune your magnolia tree.

When to Prune
The best time of year to prune your magnolia tree is in late winter before new growth begins. This gives the tree time to heal before the stress of summer arrives. If you must prune at another time of year, do so in early summer after the flowers have faded. Avoid pruning in late summer or early fall, as this can stimulate new growth that won’t have time to harden off before winter arrives.

How to Prune
Start by removing any dead, diseased or damaged branches, as well as any crossing or rubbing branches. Cut back remaining branches by one-third their length. Make cuts just above a dormant bud (a small knob on the branch), angling the cut away from the bud so water won’t pool there and cause rot. Finally, remove any suckers (vertical shoots) emerging from below ground level or from the trunk or roots of your magnolia tree


Pruning magnolia trees is not a difficult task, but it is important to do it correctly. The best time to prune magnolia trees is in late winter or early spring, before new growth begins. When pruning, always make clean, sharp cuts just above a bud or branch. Avoid pruning magnolia trees too heavily, as this can damage the tree.

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About the author

Alex Kountry

Alex Kountry is the founder of HayFarmGuy and has been a backyard farmer for over 10 years. Since then he has decided to write helpful articles that will help you become a better backyard farmer and know what to do. He also loves to play tennis and read books

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